Insurance companies should make the flood maps available

Published: February 2, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Canadian insurance companies compile catastrophe models to help them predict flood damage and other natural disasters to the can more accurately assess premium costs. The chief executive of an open source cat modelling platform says insurers should make these maps open and freely available to help create more robust flood maps.

Governments are often pushed to create flood maps, but do insurance companies have more responsibility? Dickie Whitaker, chief executive of the Oasis Loss Modelling Framework believes yes.

“The solution is really, really clear,” said Whitaker “The solution has to be that there are national data sets, public assets, that should be available for everyone to use.”

Whitaker was speaking at the C4 conference in Ottawa, which is organized by Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). The event has been dominated by the debate that scientists, governments, researchers, and insurance companies should combine their mapping efforts for more detailed flood maps.

If all parties are using different data and mapping models, there will be no agreement between insurers and governments about how to implement flood mitigation initiatives. Whitaker says such a collaboration worked for earthquake mapping.

“You have earthquake models to set standards, open source, available free for everyone. Nothing exists like that, in anything like the level of logic and coherence [as earthquake models], for hydrological hazards and for meteorological hazards.”